And it goes to this larger set of concerns about how we are going to run against John McCain. You know, I wish the Republicans would apologize for the disaster of the Bush-Cheney years and not run anybody, just say that it's time for the Democrats to go back into the White House.
Unfortunately, they don't seem to be willing to do that. So we know that they're going to be out there, full force.
And, you know, I've been in this arena for a long time. I have a lot of baggage, and everybody has rummaged through it for years.
And so, therefore, I have an opportunity to come to this campaign with a very strong conviction and feeling that I will be able to withstand whatever the Republicans send our way.
OBAMA: Look, I'm going to have to respond to this just really quickly, but by Senator Clinton's own vetting standards, I don't think she would make it, since President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act...
OBAMA: ... than me serving on a board with somebody for actions that he did 40 years ago.
Look, there is no doubt, that the Republicans will attack either of us. What I've been able to display during the course of this primary, is that I can take a punch. I've taken some pretty good ones from Senator Clinton.
And I don't begrudge her of that. That's part of what the political contest is about. I am looking forward to having a debate with John McCain. And I think every poll indicates that I am doing just as well, if not better, in pulling together the coalition that will defeat John McCain.
When it comes to November and people go to the polling place, they're going to be asking, are we going to go through four more years of George Bush economic policies? Are we going through four more years of George Bush foreign policy? If we as Democrats and if I as the nominee have put forward a clear vision for how we're going to move the country forward, deal with issues like energy dependence, lower gas prices, provide health care, get our troops out of Iraq, that is a debate that I'm happy to have and a debate that I'm confident that I can win.
GIBSON: And, Senator Clinton, I'm getting out of balance in terms of time. You're getting short-changed here. If you want to reply here, fine. If you want to wait, we'll do it in the next half hour.
CLINTON: We can wait. GIBSON: All right. We'll take a commercial break. We will come back to the Democratic debate from the city of Philadelphia, before the Pennsylvania primary. We'll continue. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIBSON: "The president shall be commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Live coverage from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, continues. Here, again, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.
GIBSON: Another quote from the Constitution, apropos, because we are here, as the -- you heard just a moment ago at the Constitution Center.
Senator Clinton, a question for you. We talked about the military applications from the Constitution. And this is a question that involves the war in Iraq. It comes from Mandy Garber of Pittsburgh.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)